Bantams defeat Stony to win home tourney

By CHARLES TWEED

It was a busy weekend at the Ponoka Culture and Recreation Complex with the Ponoka bantam team hosting its annual tournament.

The Jan 28 to 30 tournament featured a point system to determine which two teams would face off in the final. Each team was rewarded with 20 points for a win, 10 for a tie, five points for a one-goal loss, four points for a two-goal loss, etc…with no points being rewarded if you lost by more than five goals.

After two games Ponoka, Stony Plain, and Red Deer were tied with 30 points apiece. After some quick goals for and against calculations it was determined Stony Plain and Ponoka would meet in the final with the winner claiming bragging rights in the tournament.

In the first period, neither team could solve the other’s goaltender.

In the middle frame the Stampeders’ offense exploded. Just over five minutes into the second Shane Epp got the Stamps on the board with assists going to Sebastien Thibeault and Jared Davis.

Next, Tyson Matejka would beat the Stony Plain goalie to extend the lead to two. Regan Hunks and Daniel Bergsma would get assists on the game’s second goal.

Then, it was Riley Workman who got in on the action on the powerplay. Workman received a pass from Nash Behm, and realized he had some space down low. He made a slick drag move across the crease, freezing the goalie momentarily, and depositing the puck in the empty net.

The third period followed the same script as the first. Stony Plain with got some good opportunities but Aaron Lamb stood tall in net and earned the shutout in the 3-0 win.

“The kids were pretty pumped with the win in our home tourney,” said assistant coach, Chad Cissell.

One of the highlights from the weekend was the play of goaltender Aaron Lamb. The team had been splitting the duties between Lamb and Taylor Hart but Hart was injured during a provincial playdown game the week previous —a 6-4 win over Clive. With Hart missing time due to a concussion, Lamb was asked to shoulder the load.

“He played pretty good. Nobody was getting much past him all weekend and he seemed to get better as the tournament went along,” Cissell said

The win has raised expectations for the team that looked to wrap up their series with Clive on Jan. 31.

“The kids get along really well and have really jelled as a unit. They are just a great group and a very coachable group that listens in practice. We’ve seen a lot of improvement,” said Cissell.